Difference Between Possible and Probable

Possible vs Probable

Probable and possible are two commonly used words in the English language. Even though these words do not share the same roots, they convey an idea very slightly different from each other. Therefore, as always with such things, there’s confusion regarding the meaning and the usage of the words.

Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines probable as “likely to happen, to exist or to be true”, while ‘possible’ is defined as “that might exist or happen but is not certain to”

Probable implies that there is a very high chance or likelihood that a certain event might occur.  On the other hand, possible means that the subject [whatever the word possible is describing about] might happen or might not happen, but there’s no certainty of the outcome.

For example, consider the sentences “It is possible that the storm is going to reach the city limits. And probably heavy rain and the waves will flood the city”. Closely analyzing the first sentence, it is clear that it gives the sense that the storm reaching the city is not certain, but it can happen. Running through the second sentence, it implies that it is very likely the city will be flooded.

Derivatives of the two words are as follows;


Possible Probable


Possible Probable


Possibly Probably

Also, the word Probability stems from the word probably.

What is the difference between Probable and Possible?

• Probable means it is very likely to happen, to exist, or to be true.

• Possible means that something might happen, or might not. The outcome in the case of possibility is uncertain.